8.7.13 (via RACER.com) – Yesterday we examined Marco's marked improvement year, but Blair Perschbacher's role in his inaugural season at the top is no less impressive. RACER editor David Malsher asked Blair for his views on a highly promising but frequently heartbreaking season so far.
R: How has it been to step up from Indy Lights, and did it help that you were at least staying in the same family?
BP: It's been quite a bit of work and adjustment, because although it wasn't exactly a last-minute change, the decision was made in January. If we'd known about it at the back end of last season, we'd have had more time to prepare. So I'm learning as I go. If I was to sum it up, I'd say it was difficult but also interesting and fun.
R: Alongside Ray, Michael and Craig and in the reigning championship-winning team, is there extra pressure?
BP: Not really. They've all been helpful, and having people who've been there and done it and won it means there's less pressure on me because I know I can turn to them when I have questions. I think we work together well as a team.
R: Marco had a pretty horrible 2012, Iowa apart, and he certainly didn't look as competitive as he had in the final year of the old car in 2011. Was it a daunting prospect for you to come in as a rookie at this level and try to get him fulfilling his potential?
BP: Well actually, I think the fresh-start approach has been pretty helpful. Marco worked really hard in the offseason to improve his driving style and came into 2013 with a very positive attitude. I came in with a clean sheet of paper and with no preconceptions. Well, actually, I'd worked with him a bit on the Team USA A1GP program, but he's come in with a different attitude and not hampered by any traits of the old Marco. He knows it's not going to happen by just driving the wheels off the car. He sees how hard Ryan and Ray work together, and the little details Ryan goes after to maximize the potential of the car. Marco has seen that he has to step up his game in the engineering room in order to compete with Ryan, who's the reigning champion and has proven that his method works.